North & West Windsor lifts the 2023 Youth Home Nations trophy
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The English North & West team of Windsor was victorious in the Youth Home Nations at Sparsholt College in Hampshire (29-30 July) – rather an appropriate name in this Coronation year. The Welsh team of Snowdonia and the English Kit Kats (South & East) weren’t far behind. While all the riders were determined to do their best for their team and nation, there was a great spirit of support and cooperation, and plenty of opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.
The Windsor team was made up of Olivia Georgetti (Storm Clara), Elizabeth Jeffers (Belcanto Des Anges), Ellie Chilvers (Hawtins Seranella) and Jessica Finney (Rough Lee So Schufro). Jessica’s mum Martine recalled that “history repeated itself” as two years ago Jessica had the highest Novice score and was on the winning team with a different horse. This year, as well as winning with Team Windsor, she also aced the Medium individual title.
Rough Lee So Schufro (by Don Scufro), pictured above, is owned by Dawn Grundy and known as ‘Arnie the Powerhouse’ at home. Jess, who is a BD National Academy athlete, has been riding the 16-year-old for seven months and has had many wins with him at Medium and Advanced Medium levels. Jess who is 16 has already established her own yard in West Yorkshire and her ambition is ride on Junior teams.
Elizabeth Jeffers contributed two 70%-plus scores to the team total with ‘Billy’, pictured above, as well as coming second in the Elementary individual contest. “Billy is just fab,” enthused Elizabeth. “He settles quickly to new places. Go between the boards and he says ‘Mum just sit there and I’ll take you round’.
“My friend Jessica helped me warm up and gave me tips on how to supple him up. He’s only 15.2hh but when he goes into the ring he has a lot of presence. One judge gave us 75%! I’ve never been part of such a supportive team, it made the whole weekend special.”
Elizabeth trains 17-year-old Billy (Florencio x Jazz) with the help of Tori Peter. She recently left college and is working part-time to support her horses.
Ellie Chilvers also secured an individual podium place, coming third in the Novice A Section with 11-year-old Sir Donnerhall mare Hawtins Seranella, pictured above, a British-bred from the famous Hawtins stud. Ellie has had ‘Ella’ for five years and was at the Home Nations Championships for the first time. The pair have chalked up six wins at Novice and Elementary this year alone.
“She was a star at Sparsholt and quickly got used to the bigger atmosphere,” commented Sophie who is 23 and a qualified veterinary nurse. She is now studying to be a human physio. “My train Sophie Cox commented how she stayed on side for me.”
The fourth team member was Olivia Georgetti (17), riding her versatile 10-year-old Thoroughbred mare Storm Clara, pictured above, who also show jumps and team chases. “She’s not an easy mare,” said Olivia’s mum Fiona. “She was amazing in the warm-up but on the walk to the arena, she switched off. Olivia had a great weekend and was competing with some of the same girls she had won the Inter Regionals with when she was 11. The sponsors were amazingly generous and it was great fun to be there.”
North & West RDO Alex Phillips was thrilled with the performance of all the team members. “When Kate Tomlinson put together Team Windsor we knew it was an incredibly strong team even though only one had done the Home Nations competition before,” she said. “Our region as a whole did well with lots of individual placings. We had a lot of new riders and it’s a big step up from Inter Regionals.
“The Region has done incredibly well at producing the dressage riders of the future. Some of the riders who rode for us last year are now riding for England! The whole weekend was an absolute pleasure. No-one made mistakes. There were no dramas and there was a fabulous team spirit.”
Individual Elementary honours went to Wales’ Kizzie Lucas (18) and her 10-year-old Irish Sports Horse Candito, pictured above, who were part of the second-placed Wales Snowdonia team. “I bought him last year. We weren’t looking but I heard of him through word of mouth. He’s been a little treasure,” said Kizzie who was at her first BD Youth team competition. “I did my A levels at Hartpury and was part of the Equine Academy which was very beneficial to my training. Without their support I wouldn’t have got such good scores,” said Kizzie, who trains with Lizzel Winter and Levi Hunt and has just started working for the Eilbergs.
“We had a team briefing to expect lower scores as it was a championship but I thought he was capable of breaking the 70% barrier so I went for it.” In fact, Kizzie and Candito delivered 72.50% in their first test. They are the current Petplan Area Festival Winter Elementary Bronze champions.
Sophie Isaacs(North & East) and Donaigo Ace, pictured above, edged in front of their regional team-mates Lucy Wilson and Fairytale IV to win the Novice A Section with two plus 71% scores. Sophie (22), who is a freelance rider, got Ace in March last year and didn’t start competing until July 2022. The pair won the Novice Bronze at Northallerton Winter Area Festival and were 13th at the Winter Area Festival Championships.
“He’s a bit of a later starter but very promising,” commented Sophie who trains with Wendy Murray-Wake, Sam Brown and Hannah Esberger-Hancock. She is based on the Northumberland border and this is the first year she has been part of a Youth squad.
“I was delighted with the first test, it’s one of our favourites. I didn’t think the second was that great and I was a bit upset. Then the scores came out and I was top of the leaderboard! My mum, my friends and I all started crying.” Fortunately they were happy tears.
Novice B Section winner was Natasha Macdonald (14), with Sauvey Golden Condor, pictured above, known as Kevin, part of the third-place S&E Kit Kats team. “He’s a real character and likes playing games,” explained Natasha who has had the 13.2hh for six years and last year competed in Children on Horses at two internationals.
“He was super in the test. I’ve been working with my trainer Leanne Wall on his medium trot and medium canter and we got 8s for them. I was pleased with my accuracy. Leanne has drilled it into me that because he’s not the biggest moving pony, I can get extra marks for being accurate.”
Sisters Morgan and Madi Haerr, riding for Wales, both won individual titles. Seventeen-year-old Morgan was the FEI Junior winner while 15-year-old Madi was the Combined Pony champion. The girls train with Lucy Parks and Rui Campeão.
Morgan has been on the BD National Academy this year with 17-year-old Floran (by Florestant) and the pair, pictured above, won the Advanced Medium Silver Championship at Kelsall Hill Summer Regional. Morgan has been competing in BD Youth Classes since she was 10 years old and, with Floran, was longlisted for the Junior Europeans. “The last 12 months have been fantastic for Morgan and she has learned a lot,” said her mother, Mary. “Both girls have been very lucky with sponsors who are all Welsh businesses.”
Madi has leased Rosewater Rockstar (by Caesar 171) from owners Lynn and Kate Morgan for the last year and has competed at a number of High Profile and Premier League shows. Madi and ‘Rocky’ were very consistent over both days of the competition holding off a strong challenge from Fi Grabham and Hilkens Showgirl.
“All our outings are family outings,” said Mary. “We have a small yard and our liveries all come to competitions with us. The girls love BD Youth and their Welsh team mates are the best.”
Overall winner in the Children on Horses section was Jodie Scully and Lassbann Silhouette riding for Ireland. Amy Richards and Happy Pleasure (South & West), pictured below, were Overall Prix St Georges Champions. They only started their PSG career in June with wins at Duchy College Dressage Festival. Amy has been competing the Blue Hors Zack 11-year-old since May 2022 and the pair has chalked up many wins together.
Congratulations to all the competitors, their families and supporters for making it such a friendly and fun event. Thank you to the team at Sparsholt, judges, stewards and scorers for all their hard work too.
1. North & West Windsor 420.78
Olivia Georgetti and Storm Clara, Ellie Chilvers and Hawtins Seranella, Elizabeth Jeffers and Belcanto Des Anges, Jessica Finney and Rough Lee So Schufro
2. Wales Snowdonia 415.43
Lucy Williams and Oreo Cookie, Sophie Mansell and Bravo Freckles, Kizzie Lucas and Candito, Madi Haerr and Rosewater Rockstar
3. South & East Kit Kats 413.71
Natasha Macdonald & Sauvey Golden Condor, Tara Faulds and Godrics Decoy, Daisy Hills and Taurmore Buster, Jersey Garrett and Denwyn Seren Ddu.
Overall Individual Winners
1. Sophie Isaacs and Donalgo Ace (N&E), 143.61
2. Lucy Wilson and Fairytale IV (N&E), 141.96
3. Ellie Chilvers and Hawtins Seranella (N&W), 140.77
1. Natasha MacDonald and Sauvey Golden Condor (S&E), 139.49
2. Holly Scott and Lincoln LDS (N&E), 138.64
3. Molly Bennett and Gemini VII (S&W), 138.21
1. Kizzie Lucas and Candito (Wales), 143.96
2. Elizabeth Jeffers and Belcanto Des Anges (N&W) 142.34
3. Daisy Winkle and Decandro Hit LDS (S&W), 139.19
1. Jessica Finney and Rough Lee So Schufro (N&W), 137.67
2. Rachel Carr and Callaghstown Silver Doolin (Ireland), 137.29
3. Madi Haerr and Rosewater Rockstar (Wales), 236.11
Overall Pony Combined
1. Madi Haerr and Rosewater Rockstar (Wales), 134.66
2. Fi Grabham and Hilkens Showgirl (South & East), 133.69
3. Tara Faulds and Godricks Decoy (South & East) 130,75
FEI Children on Horses
1. Jodie Scully and Lasbann Silhouette (Ireland), 127.29
2. Tichy Sanders and Uberto Van Het Delhoff (South & West), 62.37
FEI Individual Junior
1. Morgan Haerr and Floran (Wales), 136.8
2. Daisy Mansfield and Feentanz III (South & West), 135.74
3. Crystal Robinson-Long and High-Quality (South & East) 131.90
Prix St Georges Overall
1. Amy Richards and Happy Pleasure (South & West), 128.23
2. Jane Sandford and Warrigon (North & East), 127.20
3. Bethany Griffiths and Ibis (South & East), 122.94
Photo © Kevin Sparrow Photography